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Romantic films put too much pressure on guys?

By Linda Petty, CNN
Actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams at the premiere of "The Notebook" on June 21, 2004, in Los Angeles.
Actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams at the premiere of "The Notebook" on June 21, 2004, in Los Angeles.
  • Readers respond to Ryan Gosling saying "The Notebook" ended an engagement
  • "Sounds like that guy dodged a bullet with that girl," wrote one commenter
  • Portico: "Anytime a girl asks a question, she's basically saying 'tell me you love me'
  • "Rotten Tomatoes" editor Matt Atchity: Grand romantic gestures can be dangerous

(CNN) -- Does "The Notebook" cause breakups?

That's star Ryan Gosling's claim. He says the blockbuster chick-flick destroyed another man's plans to marry. The reported link between movie and breakup was noted on CNN's The Marquee Blog.

In the 2004 romance, Gosling's character wins the heart of his soul mate by presenting her with a house he painstakingly has restored himself. Gosling told IFC about a guy whose fiancé asked him if he would do the same for her. When the guy said he didn't know how, the engagement was off.

That's not the first documented "Notebook" casualty. In 2007, actress and singer Jessica Simpson told People magazine that she gave up on her marriage to Nick Lachey after watching the film. She said she had hoped to save her marriage until she saw the "great love story."

CNN readers quickly offered their own relationship advice for watching romantic movies with your significant other. Generally speaking, those comments fell into the kick-her-to-the-curb group vs. the keep-the-peace-and-say-the-right-thing camp.

One of more than 313 responders, Harry called "The Notebook" the "bane of men everywhere. I cannot understate how much I HATE THAT MOVIE."

Some commenters said the man who told Gosling about the breakup was better off. "Sounds like that guy dodged a bullet with that girl," wrote Dr. Pepper. "She obviously wanted to dump him anyway."

Wraith729 agrees the movie was just an excuse for ending the engagement.

"Dude, she wanted to dump you for a while ... she just didn't know how to do it. 'The Notebook' just gave her a way out."

Brutal honesty is not always the best policy, suggested another. "Lie to women and they love you. Say the truth and they leave you and get hurt," wrote John Doe.

"The Notebook" is on many of the lists of top romantic films posted on the internet.

Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief of Rotten Tomatoes, the popular film review aggregation site, says a lot of the most successful romantic movies have one thing in common: A grand dramatic gesture.

"And although those work in the movies, I don't think they necessarily work in real life. I mean, if I were in a trench coat, with a boom box playing "In Your Eyes" outside my ex-girlfriend's window, she'd probably call the cops."

John Cusack's character had better luck with that routine in "Say Anything."

But Atchity says it's unrealistic for women to expect their men to make such grand gestures of love, just as it would be unfair to expect them to engage in real-life car chases or gunbattles.

He also believes grand gestures, where you put everything on the line, can be dangerous. "Think about 'Arthur' when Arthur (Dudley Moore's rich but always drunk character) says he could walk away from all the money for Liza Minnelli," Atchity says. "What else does he have going for him?"

But back to the "Notebook" related question.

Commenter Gary says the dumped fellow should have been smarter in his answer: "No, I wouldn't build you a house. I'd build you a palace fit for the princess that I see you are. But then he would have been stuck with her in the long run. So maybe his answer was the correct one."

Poportico wrote: "Anytime a girl asks a question, she's basically saying 'tell me you love me.' But don't ever call her out on it. She'll only deny it."

Enri is obviously a happily married fellow and wants to stay that way. "Hypothetically, if the zombie apocalypse happened and we were forced to live in the middle of nowhere -- I would build her a house. So if my wife ever asked me that question, I'd reply yes."

"Happy" noted that "Ebb and flow happens with marriage regardless of issues, and your true love is always there for you, through it all, just like the marriage vows state, in good times and in bad. Tough it out. Work it out. And when your husband or wife asks you for the moon, build a stairway to get them there."

"Molten," apparently a very fastidious fellow, wrote that he would have answered, "Yes, if you will clean it from floor to roof and wall to wall every day for the rest of your life."

A writer who signed on as "The Truth" says, "In the age of equality men should be able to ask just as annoying stupid hypothetical questions to women and get to dump them based solely on the answer. 'Will you build me a house?' 'Why yes I would, would you build me a man cave tunneled out from an actual cave?' Sounds stupid, yep."

But commenter Beth says the fiancé who left the movie theater a single man was "a total moron for not knowing a trap when he sees it. My guess is that he's also the guy who answers 'yes' when she asks if her butt looks big in a certain pair of pleated pants and tells her that no, he would not still love her if she really got fat."

"Lilgtogirl" wrote "Anyone who finds 'The Notebook' and lame ass movies like it to be reality is a moron. I am more turned on by my husband when he makes the bed occasionally without me nagging him than anything this Ryan Gosling did in that movie. Trust me, romance means not having to nag 20 times."

"All Hollywood movies are hazardous to relationships," declared "Besalel." "Ever notice how in every Hollywood movie the girl leaves the guy she's with in order to fall for her 'true soul mate'?"